I am writing this article because I am very distressed about some of the activities that are going on in the evangelism circles I am in. This article is for those who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ already. If the reader is not yet a believer, I encourage you to go to one of the other blog pages I am doing. You can find them at www.thegospelconversation.blogspot.com or www.thecolorfulstory.blogspot.com
It is an easy trick of the Enemy to get us distracted and to lose our focus on the Lord. For me, I would have the temptation to take something good, like evangelism, and make that my life goal. I would spend all my strength and energy on it and everything it involves. Evangelism is good. But our focus needs to stay on the Lord.
I have another concern as well. I am seeing a lot of posts in my evangelism forums and Face Book that are written by people who, I am sure well-meaning, would consider themselves to be 'Heretic Hunters'. Is there anything wrong with exposing false teachers? Absolutely not. The Bible tells us to do so. How much of a priority should this be then, and how can it best be accomplished? Is God glorified in the way it is being handled in the church today?
Well, before we answer any questions, we always have to look at the motive of our hearts. What is the reason why we would expose false teachers or teachings? The Bible tells us to do so in order to serve the Body of Christ so that those who are weak in faith or new believers won't be sucked into deception. At the same time, the Bible helps us to learn how to be discerning so that we can learn how to detect false teachings. It is part of learning truth. As we grow in our Christian walk, we learn more and more how to separate the Truth from the Lies. If we look around the world right now, we can see how the world is permeated with lies. As we grow in our knowledge of the Scriptures, we see those lies more clearly. Having said this, should we make a big part of our Christian life talking about these lies and those who are teaching them? There may be times and situations that will call for that, but overall we should keep our focus on the Lord and continue to grow in the knowledge of the truth.
Don't misunderstand. We tend to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are teachers who do a great job of exposing false teachers. Some of the well-known men of God, such as Justin Peters or Al Mohler have done an excellent job of exposing Rob Bell and his erroneous teachings. Can or should we add on to what they have done in this? I think we have to be careful and here's the reason why; something in our sinful flesh loves to talk about other people in a bad way. We love to put others in a bad light. But it looks right when we do this because we are exposing the bad guys right? If the false teachers have been exposed, should we continue to try to make them look worse? How much time should we spend on this anyway?
I expose false teachers on Face Book. But it doesn't have to take up much of my time (unless someone wants to argue about it). It doesn't require much space either. I repost the works that Al Mohler or Kevin DeYoung have done and leave it at that. Their messages speak for themselves.
Also, we need to be on the same page when it comes to 'Heretic Hunting' as far as the definition of a heretic. We spend way to much time picking people apart. I'm concerned also that we might hear a bad report about someone, and we might start to believe it ourselves. Then we tell so and so that this person is a heretic without even knowing why we believe it! How easily this leads into slander. Slander is a very serious sin in God's eyes. Let's be careful who we call a false teacher or heretic. If someone disagrees with you on a doctrinal issue, it doesn't necessarily mean he is a heretic. If he is teaching lies about the deity of Christ or about the Gospel message then he is to be confronted. If he doesn't listen, or consider his error or rebellion, and has no desire to change his message, and if he continues to preach the fallacy, then yes, his doctrine needs to be exposed. It needs to be exposed carefully though, because if we are not careful, we will be gloating over someone else because of their sin. That is pride and pride is an abomination to God. We don't have a right to become prideful when someone else is in sin. It doesn't give us a right to slander. There is a difference between exposing false teaching and slandering. We need to know the difference. Remember, the only people that Jesus came down hard on were the Scribes and Pharisees. Other people rejected Him and did things to Him that were awful. He had mercy on them because of their ignorance. There are a lot of Bible teachers that are weak or even in ignorance. They need help. They need someone to come alongside them to help them to see the truth. There are those who are a stiff as a board and will never bend their knee to God until that Day. It takes a skill to see which category people are in sometimes, because it can be hard to see the difference at first. Time usually reveals who a person loves and what they will stand for and ultimately die for. Let us be careful how we judge people in the church. Let us be patient with those who are weak, and let us stand up for the Truth at all times, gracefully and by the grace of God!